Zoning and Official Community Plan bylaw amendments needed to move a controversial development at the corner of Oxford Street and Marine Drive forward received a thumbs-up from White Rock council Monday.
“I think we all agree that they have done some diligent work,” Coun. Mary-Wade Anderson said of proponents behind the Marine Terraces project, a residential/commercial complex.
Anderson was among six politicians to vote in favour of the OCP bylaw amendment, which changes the land-use designation of two residential lots on Buena Vista Avenue to commercial, in order to include the properties in plans for the mixed-use project.
Georgia Laine Developments plans to build townhouses with underground parking on the Buena Vista lots. A four-storey apartment block with underground parking and ground-level commercial with townhouses above are planned for the rest of the 1.14-acre site.
Residents have voiced concerns about the project since January, when concept plans for the site – encompassing 14807 Marine Dr., 1184 Oxford St. and 14818 to 14832 Buena Vista Ave. – were first presented. The project was scaled back three times before it went to public hearing Oct. 4.
Throughout, height remained a key issue amongst opponents. Other concerns raised included traffic congestion, that the site could be flipped after approvals are received and that the city would even consider changing its rules for a developer when residents have been held to the letter of existing zoning and bylaw regulations.
Coun. Helen Fathers cast the sole dissenting vote on the OCP amendment, stating she could not support the project based on concerns heard, however she supported giving the zoning amendment third and final reading, making that vote unanimous.
In voicing support for the OCP amendments, council members commended the proponents for reaching a “good compromise” on the project.
While the zoning amendment would enable building to a height of 37 feet on the Buena Vista lots, the developer has agreed not to exceed the previous zoning limit of 25 feet, Coun. Lynne Sinclair noted.
Mayor Catherine Ferguson described the journey leading up to Monday’s decision as “an arduous process” but said she is satisfied with efforts made by the proponents to address concerns.
Coun. Al Campbell said supporting the OCP change “is the right thing to do.” Noting he went through a similar process as a resident, Campbell said projects that went up around his Vidal Street house over the years now “just blend.”
The additional traffic has not been an issue, he added.
In response to questions from Coun. Doug McLean, Paul Stanton, the city’s director of development services, confirmed the Ministry of Environment has signed off on an environmental assessment of the site. A covenant ensuring balconies will not be closed in has also been received, he added.
After Monday’s meeting, Georgia Laine Developments president Robert Wilson individually thanked the councillors and mayor for their support.